Pre and post operative rehabilitation  


Have you had a recent surgery or have you a surgery booked?

Physiotherapy is an important part of the process both pre-operatively and for post operative rehabilitation. Whether it’s a total knee replacement, total hip replacement, abdominal, knee, ankle, shoulder or spine surgery advice from a Chartered Physiotherapist will aid your recovery.

Pre-operative physiotherapy ensures that you are ready for your operation. When you perform strengthening exercises pre-operatively, especially around the area of operation you are more likely to have an easier rehabilitation after the surgery.

By attending a Chartered Physiotherapist, you will be given information about the surgery, pre-operative exercises to strengthen tha muscles and to familiarise yourself with the movements you will be performing after the operation.

Post-operative rehabilitation  is a very important part of recovery. Physiotherapists here at Southside Physiotherapy Clinic will work with you to get you back on your feet again in the safest, most efficient and effective way. Physiotherapy can also reduce your pain levels, provide you with vital post-operative exercises, and get you back to living as normally as possible, as soon as possible.

Alongside strengthening the muscles around the site, being aware of your breathing is also important. Immediately following a general anaesthetic, you are at risk of developing chest infections if you don’t perform breathing exercises post-operatively. This is especially if the surgery is around your abdomen.

By attending a physiotherapist before your operation you can also be provided with advice and breathing exercises to be performed ASAP, in order to prevent any complications and infections.

An example of these exercises is the active cycle of breathing technique:



As you can see in the diagram above the ACBT cycle goes as follows:

  • Perform normal breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth to regulate
  • Then take 3-5 deep breaths, again in through the nose and out through your mouth. When you breath in, try to hold your breath for 2-3 seconds before letting the air out of your mouth
  • Perform your normal breathing again
  • Take a few more deep breaths pausing at the top
  • Then a huff is to be performed. The purpose of the huff is to expectorate any phlegm that may be in your lungs. To do the huff, take a deep breath in and then huff out of your mouth as if you are trying to fog up a window. (big open mouth)
  • Following the huff or throughout the exercise you may feel the need to cough or want to cough and this is good. (if the surgery is around your abdomen playing a pillow along the wound site when coughing can help for comfort)

The ACBT cycle should be performed every few hours after a general anaesthetic and it is useful to practice it with a physiotherapist beforehand.

As well as strengthening exercises, pain relief and breathing techniques, you may have been issued a pair of crutches. Physiotherapists are excellent at educating you on crutch use and re-educating your waking pattern to ensure safety when using crutches.

For example, if you have a painful / operated leg, it is important to know how to use crutches on the stairs: (this may vary depending on how much weight you are allowed to put through the leg, but for example if you had a joint replacement and are allowed to fully weight bear the stairs go as follows)…

  • When going up the stairs you step with your pain free leg, then the painful leg comes up to the same step, followed by the crutch last
  • Take one step at a time on the way up and the way down
  • When going down the stairs the pattern is the opposite – crutch goes down onto the step below, then lower the painful leg, followed by the pain free leg to the same step
  • A useful phrase I like to use as a reminder is ‘Good goes to heaven, bad goes to hell!’


If you have a pending operation or have already had one,  call us at Southside Physiotherapy Clinic on 2897171 so one of our Charted Physiotherapists can assist you to recover as soon as possible!